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Brief History

In 1903 Mr. Ross Hanahan was Chairman and a chemist with the Commissioners of Public Works in the City of Charleston, South Carolina.  The first construction at the now present water works was a pumping station completed in 1903.  The pumping station was named the Saxon Pumping Station.  The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad built a station at Highland Park which was named the Saxon Stop in 1719.  The name of Saxon Pumping Station and the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Station at Highland Park was re-named Hanahan Pumping Station and Hanahan Stop after Mr. Ross Hanahan.  The reason for the name change was because there was a Saxon, North Carolina on the Atlantic Coast Line.  Freight destined for the Commissioners of Public Works was disbursed in Saxon, North Carolina.  Freight arriving via Seaboard Railroad located on the north side of the City of Hanahan had to be trucked via Remount Road, west on Highway 52 and right on Hanahan into the water works area.  The reason for this route was there was no bridge across Turkey Creek on Murray Drive.

In 1928 the Commissioners of Public Works petitioned the Berkeley County Delegation to have a bridge constructed across Turkey Creek.

In 1941 the House of Representatives passed an Act naming the area the Highland Park Water and Sewer Authority.

In 1948 the House of Representatives passed another Act renaming the area from Highland Park Fire and Water District to the Hanahan Public Service Commission.

Hanahan’s incorporation on September 21st, 1973 allowed it to become a more self-sufficient City and continue the heritage that started it as a public service district, a peaceful community.

The citizens of Hanahan adopted the Council form of Government pursuant to the Home Rule Statute, Act No. 238 of 1975.  The certificate of Incorporation was issued by the Secretary of State on April 8th, 1976.


Colony Founding and Plantation Economy:  The area now defined within the City limits of Hanahan has shared in and has contributed to the rich heritage of the Carolina Lowcountry since the seventeenth century. This area, which roughly encompasses the Goose Creek watershed, has been a barometer of the development trends in the greater Charleston area since the Province of Carolina was first administered by the Lords Proprietors in 1663.

Charles Towne, which, like the Province of Carolina, was named after King Charles Il of England, was first established along a sheltered tidal creek near a bend in the Ashley River in 1670 and became the province’s first town. In 1680, however, town leaders relocated the settlement to the west bank of the Cooper River, a location more easily defensible against marauding native American tribes and, due to sea breezes, less inundated with mosquitoes—carriers of malaria. It was at this location, now the heart of modern Charleston, South Carolina, that the settlement flourished as a seaport, center of trade, and administrative seat for the new province.

Before 1680, the Lords Proprietors made land grants to Edward and Arthur Middleton and to John

Yeamans of lands along the Goose Creek, a tributary of the Cooper River. The new location of Charles Towne enabled direct access by water from these lands, thus making them valuable sites for plantations on which to raise indigo and rice. Arthur Middleton established Yeshoe Plantation (later renamed Otranto Plantation) at the navigable head of the Goose Creek, while John Yeamans established Yeamans Hall Plantation downriver, on land surrounded by the Goose Creek and the Cooper River. Similarly, the areas in and around what is now known as Hanahan thrived in the antebellum plantation economy that expanded throughout much of the southern United States into the 1860’s.

The Goose Creek first came under the jurisdiction of Berkeley County in 1682. The county, named after two of the Lords Proprietors, John Berkeley of Stratton, England, and Sir William Berkeley, the former of whom became the first chancellor of the Province of Carolina. The county was dissolved, however, in 1706 in favor of the Saint James Parish, when a parish system of government was adopted. The Charleston District was established, encompassing all of present-day Berkeley County, in 1791 and became Charleston County in 1868, when parishes were officially discontinued. Berkeley County was recreated in 1883 with a new county seat in the town of Mount Pleasant, alongside Shem Creek on the eastern side of Charleston Harbor. Moncks Corner, upriver from Hanahan along the Cooper, became the modem Berkeley County Seat in 1895, and Mount Pleasant, along with other lands seaward of the Wando River, a tributary of the cooper, were reallocated to Charleston County in subsequent years.

Mapping of the name “Hanahan”

After the War Between the States, from 1861 to 1865, reconstruction, administered by the Federal -Government from 1865 to 1876, and the earthquake of 1886, centered in nearby Summerville, the plantations along the Goose Creek, like most in the Lowcountry, became unviable. The Hanahan area was then reborn under different economic forces, including the railroad and military presence.

Rail was established in 1901 along the Cooper River between its confluence with the Goose Creek and the port.

Most importantly, however, was the damming of the Goose Creek at the turn of the twentieth century. Groundwater under Charleston had long been compromised by sewage contamination, and the city required a permanent, reliable freshwater source. The private Charleston Water and Light Company met this demand by creating the Goose Creek Reservoir and Saxon Pumping Station and Treatment Facility, operations of which commenced in 1903. A railroad station was established on the now abandoned Atlantic Coast Line so that supplies could be delivered to the new facility, and Remount Road was constructed to provide access to US Highway 52. Ironically, the supply proved insufficient due to Charleston area population growth, the devastating 1916 hurricane that compromised the dam, and droughts in 1918 and 1926. The water supply was therefore, in 1936, supplemented by a 7-foot-wide, 23.11 mile-long underground pipeline from the Edisto River to the treatment facility.

In 1917, J. Ross Hanahan, Chairman of the Charleston Commissioners of Public Works, was instrumental in the acquisition of the reservoir, pumping station, and adjoining lands from the private company. The Saxon facility and the railroad station were then renamed after Mr. Hanahan after a shipment of supplies was lost at the Saxon Stop, located just over the North Carolina state line along the Atlantic Coast Line (now a railroad of the Seaboard System).

Settling Hanahan

In 1942, a local real estate developer, George S. Fishburne, constructed the Highland Park neighborhood near US 52, thereby creating the first community in modern Hanahan, perhaps the first year-round settlement in the area since 1886. The Yeamans Park neighborhood was completed a year later, and Port Park, formerly military housing for the nearby navy base, was made available to the public, to provide community facilities to new residents, the Highland Park Fire and Water District was established in 1942, representing the first elements of home rule separate from Berkeley County administration. The Port Park Fire Station was established on Remount Road to serve the district. As the Second World War progressed, Charleston became a point of embarkation for troops bound for Europe and a destination for prisoners of war, many of whom were held in the Hanahan area, and the US Army Depot was established in 1941 for the transmission of munitions from the interior of the country to Europe.

Like many areas across the United States, Hanahan developed briskly after the end of YVWII as a suburban bedroom community. The US military continued to be a major employer in the area, as the US Navy acquired, in 1954, a large tract of land east of Hanahan known as the Weapons Station Annex, which has become the site for the Atlantic Polaris Missile Facility and Nuclear Power Training School. Increased demand for services was met as the Highland Park Fire and Water District became a public service district (PSD) in 1946, empowered to provide sanitary and storm water sewage systems, parks and recreation facilities, and refuse collection as well as fire protection and potable water service. The Highland Park-Remount Road Exchange Club chose the name “Hanahan,” the enduring name of the railroad station near Remount Road, as the new name for the combined communities and the PSD, as well as itself, in 1947. In 1950, Fishburne Elementary School opened on land donated by the Highland Park developer, George Fishburne; a Hanahan Health Club was formed, and the Hanahan Public Service Commission (PSC) created a zoning commission to administer land use controls in the district, as its population approached 3,000.

Growing pains in 1950’s Hanahan, a suburban community in an otherwise rural county, caused its leaders to consider secession from Berkeley to Charleston County, since most Hanahanians were employed in the latter and utilized its services, ranging from hospitals to schools to emergency back-up assistance, which could reach Hanahan faster than similar units based in Moncks Corner. Such sentiment subsided, however, when full-time firefighters supplemented the volunteer department after long debate, and when Hanahan High School opened its doors for the 1958-59 academic year. Awareness of community identity increased as The Hanahan News, later to become The Hanahan/Goose Creek News and finally The Hanahan/Goose Creek/North Charleston News, was created in 1959 with Carl E. Meynardie as its publisher and editor.

Birth of a City

The efforts of Mr. Burton to realize the incorporated city of North Charleston came to fruition in 1972, abutting much of the southern and western boundaries of the PSD.  The first North Charleston City Hall was located on East Montague Avenue, the commercial center of the most developed of the new city’s communities, just over a mile from Remount Road.  Tensions regarding home rule were increased when the City of North Charleston annexed a Berkeley County parcel from within the Hanahan PSD, and Hanahanians learned that State Law prohibited incorporation of a new city within two miles of an existing city of 15,000 people.  Simultaneously, under scrutiny of the constitutionality of its zoning commission and ordinance, the Hanahan Public Service Commission was taken to court in 1972 by a developer seeking rezoning to build a convenience store in the Trident Industrial Park.

Senator Dennis had been working for years at the Capitol to create legislation to support zoning in PSD’s without success.  In the early 1970’s, he shifted gears to amend State Code covering incorporation.  He and State Representative Robert L. Helmly of Berkeley County successfully cleared the way for Hanahan’s incorporation, amending the Code to permit new cities of at least 7,000 within two miles of existing cities of 15,000, provided such are divided by county lines.  Hanahan PSD Manager L. Hugh Smith collected 240 signatures on a petition to the Secretary of State’s office to prompt a local referendum on the matter of incorporation.  Despite the opposition of the Public Service Commission, Hanahanian’s voted to incorporate by a margin of 1093 to 903 on September 21st, 1973.  George C. Williams was elected mayor of the new city to head the council form of government, which in turn named Mr. Hugh Smith as City Manager, essentially allowing him to continue in his duties in Hanahan. The new City, with the population of 11,408, included the entire PSD as well as abutting undeveloped lands northward to the Otranto and Saint James subdivisions.  Hanahan was thus able to update, administer, and enforce its zoning ordinance and became eligible for federal revenue-sharing funds, distributed to incorporated municipalities per capita.  Hanahan annexed the Otranto neighborhood, developed on former plantation lands, in 1976.  The 1980 US Census counted about 13,000 residents, a figure that has since increased drastically.

Events and Recreation

Recreation and leisure have increasingly become important parts of not only Hanahan, but all of America.  Numerous options are available to children and adults through the Recreation and Parks Department of the City and the County.  Additionally, Wiley Knight Stadium, the home of the Hanahan High School football, is the scene of family events for several autumn evening each year.  The community rallied around the opening of its new public high school in 1958, building the football stadium solely through private efforts.  Hanahan Public Service Commissioners personally pledged their financial support in the event of a shortfall of donations.  In addition to football, Wiley Knight Stadium has hosted events such as the City’s ten-year anniversary festivities, as it accommodated the largest number of spectators of any Hanahan facility.

Religious Institutions

Religion has long played an important role in the communities of the Lowcountry, its height of influence coming in the eighteenth century, when counties were dissolved and the colony was delineated by the parishes of the Anglican (Episcopal) Church.  The original St. James Church (the St. James-Goose Creek Chapel) still stands along side Old US 52, north of the present-day City of Goose Creek.  Built between 1714 and 1719, the chapel was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

More recently, churches of other denominations have formed as Hanahan has become a City.  Yeamans Park Presbyterian Church is the oldest house of worship in the city limits, constructed on land donated by the Yeamans Hall Club.  Other churches that grew with the City include Highland Park Baptist, Hanahan Baptist, Christ Sanctified Holy Church, Divine Redeemer Catholic Church and Advent Lutheran Church.

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